Chartres

Chartres en Lumières

Every year since 2003, from April to September, Chartres goes alight. Chartres in Light (Chartres en Lumières) has become a yearly must for the lovers of architectural heritage. A discovery trail takes visitors along the most precious monuments in town, a ray of light revealing the details and beauty of buildings, streets, squares and gardens. The fascinating operation is based on scientific research on how to offer a new perspective on the well-known beauties of the cities. The challenge was met and Chartres en Lumières is now a real life open book on the history of the city. From the celebrated cathedral to tiny bridges over the Eure, lights guide the passers-by through a real time travel. The highlight is obviously the Festival of Light on the third weekend in September with concerts, exhibitions and choreographies.

The Chartres en Lumieres festivities attract more than 800,000 visitors eache year.

website : www.chartresenlumières.com

One previous stage.
Population: 3,200
Prefecture of Eure-et-Loir (28)Economy : agriculture, mechanical industry, electronics, cosmetics.
Specialties : mentchikoff (sweet), Chartres pate, sable de Beauce (biscuit), Chartres honey.
Motto : He who saves a citizen is handed an oak crown.
Sport : FC Chartres (football), AB Chartres (women’s basketball), UB Chartres Metropole (men’s basketball), Chartres ASTT (table tennis).
Celebrities : Jacques Pierre Brissot (French revolutionary), Geo Lefevre, Jean Moulin, Jacqueline de Romilly (French academician), Mireille Dumas (television journalist), Nicolas and Julien Escude (tennis and football).

Timeline

  • Antiquity

    Chartres is the capital of the Gallic tribe of the Carnutes, who gave it their name. Chartres is the place where the druids used to meet.
  • Mid-3rd century

    Christianisation of the region by St Altin and St Eodald. A location is granted to the Christians to build a cathedral.
  • 4th century

    The bishopric is one of the largest in Gaul.
  • 858

    The town is ransacked by Hastings.
  • 911

    Chartes resists an attack by Normandy’s Rollon. The Normans are defeated thanks to the support of the counts of Blois, the dukes of Burgundy and France.
  • 1000

    Bishop Fulbert starts the construction of a large church to honour Mary. He also creates a school which becomes one of Europe’s leading intellectual centres.
  • 1134

    Fire destroys the town and the facade of the cathedral.
  • 1150

    ST Bernard preaches for the Second Crusade in Chartres.
  • 1297

    The town is granted a charter.
  • 1417

    Burgundy, led by Duke John the Fearless, conquer Chartres. It is hande back to the King of France in 1432.
  • 1568

    The town is besieged by the prince of Condé.
  • 1588

    Day of the Barricades. King Henry III takes refuge in Chartres.
  • 1591

    Henry of Navarre besieges Chartres, who took sides with the Catholic League. He will be crowned King of France in Chartres in 1594, the only French king not to be crowned in Reims.
  • 1789

    The Carmel convent becomes a jail. The antique statue of Our Layd underground is destroyed. It is decided to burn down the cathedral but revolutionary painter Sergent-Marceau intervenes to turn the church into a Temple of Reason.
  • 1849

    Chartres is one of the first towns to be linked tp Paris by rail. Economic growth ensues.
  • 1879-71

    Chartres is occupied by the Prussians.
  • 1940, June 17

    German troops walk into Chartres
  • 1944

    The town is liberated by American soldiers.
  • 1979

    Chartres Cathedral is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
  • 1980

    Inauguration of the International Stained Glass Centre.
One previous stage.
Population: 3,200
Prefecture of Eure-et-Loir (28)Economy : agriculture, mechanical industry, electronics, cosmetics.
Specialties : mentchikoff (sweet), Chartres pate, sable de Beauce (biscuit), Chartres honey.
Motto : He who saves a citizen is handed an oak crown.
Sport : FC Chartres (football), AB Chartres (women’s basketball), UB Chartres Metropole (men’s basketball), Chartres ASTT (table tennis).
Celebrities : Jacques Pierre Brissot (French revolutionary), Geo Lefevre, Jean Moulin, Jacqueline de Romilly (French academician), Mireille Dumas (television journalist), Nicolas and Julien Escude (tennis and football).

Chartres and cycling

The prefecture city of Eure-et-Loir has only welcomed the Tour de France once, but even so it has witnessed two outstanding events in its former and more recent history. Indeed, before putting forward the idea of creating a cycling race travelling along the country’s borders to Henri Desgrange, Géo Lefèvre was born in Chartres in 1877. Much later, in 2004, the stage finished with the victory of Stuart O’Grady, the fastest of a breakaway of five riders, which had a lead of more than 12 minutes on the peloton. Among them, the young French Champion, Thomas Voeckler went into the lead in the general classification. It was the beginning of the Alsatian’s first experience wearing the Yellow Jersey on the roads of France.

Chratres has also been since 2009 the start of the Paris-Tours classic.
One previous stage.
Population: 3,200
Prefecture of Eure-et-Loir (28)Economy : agriculture, mechanical industry, electronics, cosmetics.
Specialties : mentchikoff (sweet), Chartres pate, sable de Beauce (biscuit), Chartres honey.
Motto : He who saves a citizen is handed an oak crown.
Sport : FC Chartres (football), AB Chartres (women’s basketball), UB Chartres Metropole (men’s basketball), Chartres ASTT (table tennis).
Celebrities : Jacques Pierre Brissot (French revolutionary), Geo Lefevre, Jean Moulin, Jacqueline de Romilly (French academician), Mireille Dumas (television journalist), Nicolas and Julien Escude (tennis and football).

What to see

Chartres Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Chartres (Our Lady of Chartres) is one of the largest cathedrals devoted to the Virgin Mary in northern France in the 12th and 13th centuries. It was listed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

It stands on a promontory overlooking the Eure River by thirty metres. During the Middle-Ages, five different buildings replaced one another. A few walls remain and the crypt known as St Lubin’s. Bishop Fulbert, one of the great minds of his time, monitored the construction of the cathedral, which was dedicated in 1037. The crypt, the narthex with its three sculpted great doors and its two towers remain. The south tower was built at a later date. Fulbert’s Romanesque basilica was destroyed in 1194 and only the crypt and the west façade were preserved. The 13th century cathedral as we know it kept the western bulk of the old building. With its cross pattern, its three floors, cross-ribs and arch-beams, it is a perfect example of High Gothic style.   

The bay windows are the oldest ancient stained-glass set to be preserved in the country. The oldest windows date from Fulbert’s cathedral, circa 1145.

Additions were made throughout the years. The St Piat chapel, linked to the cathedral by a small staircase, was built in 1325-1335. The Vendome chapel is from 1417. The north tower, also known as the New Tower, is the work of Jehan Texier, aka Jehan de Beauce, a 16th century mason. In 1836, fire destroyed the wooden frame of the building. It was replaced by a cast-iron strucure, which is one of the peculiarities of the cathedral. 

Museum of the fine arts

The old bishop palace is composed of buildings from various periods spanning from the 15th to the 19th century. Of the ancient palace, in which King Henry IV stayed for his coronation in 1594, only a few ruins remain. The main part of the palace was built between the 17th and 18th centuries by three different bishops.

Leonor D’Estampes de Valencay, bishop between 1620 and 1641, destroyed the Vidame castle standing next to the cathedral to replace it by a new hall, linked to the cathedral by a gangway. Bishop Godet des Marais, who married King Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, had a new wing built at the back of the new hall and the terrace in front of it was made into a garden.Mgr de Fleury competed the work of his predecessors with the central pavilion (1748), the entrance hall, the chapel and the monumental wrought iron gate. 

After the Revolution, the bishop palace became the headquarters of the department services. The prefecture moved in 1914 and left the building to the municipality on condition that a museum took its place, which was done in 1939.

Convent of the Cordeliers

Franciscan monks, known as Cordeliers in France, settled in Chartres in 1231. The chapter of the cathedral gave them land to build their convent. Thanks to several donations, they became so rich that the Pope was forced to intervene to remind them of their poverty vow. In1568, when the Protestants besieged Chartres, it was decided to destroy the convent as it was an easy target. A new monastery was built on the site of an old vineyard ust outside town. Sold after the Revolution, the building became a secondary school and now houses the National School for music and dance. The walls and roofs of the old convent, as well as the cloister, have been preserved. 

One previous stage.
Population: 3,200
Prefecture of Eure-et-Loir (28)Economy : agriculture, mechanical industry, electronics, cosmetics.
Specialties : mentchikoff (sweet), Chartres pate, sable de Beauce (biscuit), Chartres honey.
Motto : He who saves a citizen is handed an oak crown.
Sport : FC Chartres (football), AB Chartres (women’s basketball), UB Chartres Metropole (men’s basketball), Chartres ASTT (table tennis).
Celebrities : Jacques Pierre Brissot (French revolutionary), Geo Lefevre, Jean Moulin, Jacqueline de Romilly (French academician), Mireille Dumas (television journalist), Nicolas and Julien Escude (tennis and football).

Cosmetic Valley

A human and business venture started in the 1970s has made Chartres the French capital of perfumery and the centre of the so-called Cosmetic Valley, one of the most innovative economic areas in France.

In the 1970s, France’s policy of decentralisation drove several perfumers out of Paris. Many of them, Guerlain, Coty-Lancaster or Paco Rabanne chose to move south of the capital in Eure-et-Loir. Dior set foot in Orleans, Hermes settled in Eure. The presence of such famous brands led several sub-contractors and small cosmetic businesses to move in the area as well. As a result, foreign companies of the sector, like Japan’s Sisheido, Germany’s Reckitt or South Korea’s Pacific also chose to implant their French branches in such favourable environment. The companies installed in the Eure-et-Loir department were the first to decide to join forces with the help of local authorities. The project became known as Comsetic Valley and emerged as one of the most dynamic ventures in the country. Between 1994 and 2000, Cosmetic Valley created more than 3,000 jobs.

When France decided to boost the economic activity by creating competitivity poles, Cosmetic Valley was obviously chosen to show the way in 2005. The new label allowed the association to spread over six departments and to include universities and professional schools in the sector.   

One previous stage.
Population: 3,200
Prefecture of Eure-et-Loir (28)Economy : agriculture, mechanical industry, electronics, cosmetics.
Specialties : mentchikoff (sweet), Chartres pate, sable de Beauce (biscuit), Chartres honey.
Motto : He who saves a citizen is handed an oak crown.
Sport : FC Chartres (football), AB Chartres (women’s basketball), UB Chartres Metropole (men’s basketball), Chartres ASTT (table tennis).
Celebrities : Jacques Pierre Brissot (French revolutionary), Geo Lefevre, Jean Moulin, Jacqueline de Romilly (French academician), Mireille Dumas (television journalist), Nicolas and Julien Escude (tennis and football).
video21/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Chartres

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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